Monday, March 20, 2006

Book Review: How To Be Your Own Publicist

by Jessica Hatchigan.
I received this book from Mind & Media to review.
And I admit, I had an ulterior motive for asking to review this one: At work, I'm the guy that's supposed to get the media to give us more positive publicity, instead of negative publicity. I have a background in the media, so that helps. But I don't think I write News Releases very well.  I hoped this book would help.
This book is well-written, easy to understand, and contains good illustrations and examples. The only thing that would have made this a better book would have been the inclusion of a CD-ROM with templates for news releases, pitch letters, and the various other documents mentioned in the book.
I did disagree with one point mentioned about news releases. The author thinks it's a good idea to include suggested news angles, PSA copy, contact information for people outside your organization that would be good interviews, and other stuff that makes it appear you are "in the know" about the media business and to help the reporter do his job. I disagree with that approach. Granted, it's been more than ten years since I've been in the media, but when I was, if an unsolicited news release from a new company or organization included this stuff, I'd have been offended. I'd have thought the person writing the news release was trying to tell me how to do my job. I still think a good reporter should be able to find his own angles from a news release, find people to interview on his own, and write copy better than Joe Public.
That's just one little problem I had with an overall Very Good Book. 
The book is not just about news releases either! There's a wealth of information on getting yourself/your organization/your company publicity.
If you need to learn How to Be Your Own Publicist, that's the book to get!
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